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REF 2021: declare personal circumstances by 17 January 2020

REF 2021

In an effort to ensure that all colleagues eligible to be included in the University's REF 2021 return have an opportunity to declare personal circumstances if they so wish, we have added an additional cut-off date for personal circumstances.

Colleagues wishing for their circumstances to be considered by the Personal Circumstances Group at this point should submit their forms by 17:00 on 17 January 2020.

Declarations of personal circumstances enable us to acknowledge the impact that challenges such as extended sick leave, caring responsibilities or bereavement may have had on individual colleagues' ability to research productively during the REF assessment period, whether they were at work or absent. This is important to help us gauge the cumulative effect that individual personal circumstances may have had on the productivity of a unit or department. Their declaration means that the total number of outputs required of a UOA may be reduced accordingly, so it is therefore in both the individual's and the University's interest that circumstances are declared and recognisedHowever, personal circumstances can only be taken into consideration if declared voluntarily.  

If you wish for any personal circumstances to be taken into account, you can declare them using the form available on our REF 2021 Code of Practice page, which can be accessed using your University username and password. The form and guidance are available in the ‘Things to do now' box. 

The form should be sent to the REF Personal Circumstances Group ( will review each declaration in strict confidence. 

Personal circumstances can only be taken into consideration if declared. They include:  

  • Being an Early Career Researcher, defined as eligible members of staff who started their careers as independent researchers on or after1 August 2016(so have had a shorter period of eligibility)
  • Qualifying periods of family-related leave (e.g. maternity, parental leave, adoption, bereavement)
  • Constraints relating to family leave that fall outside of the standard allowances
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Ill health (including mental health) or injury
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Other circumstances related to protected characteristics or activities protected by employment legislation
  • Secondments/career breaks outside of the HEsector.

Declarations received by this date will processed during February 2020 and will inform UOA specific outputs reduction request to the Funding Bodies, to be made by the University in March 2020. Declarations received after this date will be reviewed in June 2020, in advance of the REF staff census date in July.

If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Helsby via

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